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New Co-Workers and a New ColoradoCare Report

We are pleased to welcome two members to our team this week.

Paige Backlund Jarquín is a senior program manager for the State Innovation Model (SIM) Extension Service (SES). Paige has worked in community-based public health for more than 15 years with various organizations. Prior to joining CHI, she was at the Colorado Foundation for Public Health and the Environment (CFPHE), where she served as a regional health connector (RHC) in metro Denver.

Rebecca Rapport is a program manager for the SIM Extension Service. Previously, Rebecca worked with CFPHE as the program manager for community engagement. Before that, she was as a research coordinator at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System in Chicago while she earned her master’s degree in public health.

Both Paige and Rebecca will support RHCs and their host organizations throughout Colorado, as well as SES program development, training and evaluation activities.

RHCs are a unique new component of the state’s health workforce designed to improve the coordination of local services. For example, in a community without many sidewalks or public parks, an RHC might work with a fitness center to expand access to a safe place to exercise. The RHC would then let local primary care practices know about the fitness center and help them refer patients there.

The SIM Office, which has received a $65 million award from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to transform the state’s health care delivery system, is funding the initiative and has selected CHI to oversee its implementation.

Colorado SIM and CHI are working closely with the Colorado Health Extension System to coordinate the activities of the RHCs with other statewide efforts.

November will bring a big decision for Colorado voters: whether to approve ColoradoCare, a constitutional amendment that would create a universal health insurance system that would cover every state resident. CHI will provide a series of briefs that will independently analyze the ballot measure, Amendment 69, between now and when mail ballots go out in October. The first installment, “ColoradoCare: An Independent Analysis,” was published Friday. It is a primer that covers the basics of ColoradoCare.

It’s been the subject of news coverage in The Denver Post by David Olinger and on Colorado Public Radio by John Daley.

Our CEO, Michele Lueck, will moderate a point/counterpoint discussion of the amendment this Friday, April 15, at the annual meeting of the Colorado chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Dr. Jill Vecchio of the Independence Institute and author T.R. Reid will be the speakers.

Michele, Vice President Amy Downs and Senior Communications Expert Joe Hanel will discuss the analysis with lawmakers and their staffs next Thursday, April 21, during a Links and Learn breakfast session at the Capitol.

Speaking of the legislative session continues, Legislative Director and Policy Analyst Allie Morgan is keeping us up to date. Check out her most recent weekly blog.

Do you live in a food desert? Not sure what a food desert is? Get the answers to both of these questions in the latest installment in our Better by Design series. The report includes an interactive map on food deserts in Colorado and an-depth spotlight on Denver’s Westwood neighborhood, where residents are transforming their healthy food options from the ground up. Stay tuned for our last two installments focusing on affordable housing and transportation in Colorado.

Finally, Michele, Amy and Policy Analyst Tamara Keeney appeared before the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care on Monday to present options for payment reform recommendations that the commissioners could include in the November report to legislators. CHI serves as technical support to the commission.